The first of our series of yarn blog posts focuses on linen, which turns out to have had a significant part to play in the history of Scottish industry.
It’s always surprising how we learn new things. Here I am out for a walk, thinking of nothing much but how cold I am, and the next thing is I’m having a lesson in the making of linen.
I’m walking across a field, feet mud suckered, wind-blasted by the gale whipping off the North Sea when suddenly I’m teetering on the lip of a waterlogged hole.
‘It’s an old retting pit,’ shouts the local farmer.
‘What on earth is a retting pit?’ I yell back, as a splatter of rain stings my face. He starts to explain but I’m chittering with cold.
‘Awa ye go hame lass,’ he calls and I retreat gratefully, leaving the farmer checking over his sheep, to an internet search accompanied by a steaming mug of hot chocolate – the cold slowly dissipating from my bones.
When Renee Bøgeskov got in touch about a wrap to take her 4 month old hiking in, we were intrigued about the practicalities of a hike in a sling. We asked Renee to share her experience of hiking whilst babywearing …
Even though both my husband and I are experienced in outdoor adventures, planning a trip to the mountains with a 4 month old baby seemed slightly intimidating. We did however feel confident that our baby girl would be happy and content as long as she felt safe, warm and dry. With her used to being wrapped in a sling, as well as the fact that a woven wrap seemed as the best, if not only way, to carry a baby at the same time as a back pack, I contacted Oscha for advice on which wrap to choose. Less than 24 hours later, a base size (s.6) Okinami Sal was delivered to my door step. After fighting off some small hesitations about dragging expensive Boutique tails through dirt and bonfire smoke, I looked forward to putting this wonderful blend of 49% Sea Island cotton, 10% Cashmere, 31% wool and 10% Tussah silk to the test.
We’ve been preparing a series of blog posts looking into the origins & production of our yarns, but first we’re getting back to the basics as we send Vicki off to learn how to spin fibre into yarn by hand.
Vicki at the Spinning Wheel
A spinning wheel has always had something romantic about it for me, maybe from a childhood peppered with fairytales; Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold & Sleeping Beauty lured into pricking her finger on the wheel, so when I saw a Beginners Spinning Class advertised locally I was instantly hooked.
Two hours into the two day class and I’m not so sure. Certainly the setting has a touch of the fairytale about it, as we work in what was once the wedding room of the local Council offices, bathed in the warm glow of a real coal fire.
With interest in babywearing increasing at a significant rate over the past decade, and recent growth of academic studies into the benefits of carrying your child, Rosie Knowles has produced a timely and accessible summary pulling together relevant information about the benefits of this practice that will appeal to both newcomers and long-time carriers.
Rosie (a GP and Babywearing Consultant who runs her own Sling Library and shop) is well known and highly regarded within the babywearing world, and for good reason – her work promoting carrying not only in her hometown Sheffield (known as ‘Sling City’), but more widely in the UK and beyond, has undoubtedly contributed to a better understanding of babywearing benefits. She is passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated and motivated – any discussion with her on this topic is immediately engaging and heartfelt.
This gorgeous new Galadriel design brings together our love of the Art Nouveau movement and our passion for The Lord of the Rings in one stunning wrap.
The Lady of Lothlórien is an important addition to our growing Middle-Earth Collection, as one of the Guardians of the Golden Wood she is an integral part of the lore of Middle-earth.
Our design team worked over several months to combine the look and feel of Oscha with the histories of this world, the wraps they have created are a perfect melding of the world created by Tolkien and Oscha’s unique artistic outlook.
Introducing our new Middle-earth pattern: Shire. Our designers have spent the last two years studying descriptions of The Shire in the works of Tolkien and developing the design in order to capture the essence of the Hobbit homeland.
This amazingly detailed pattern features the iconic circular doorway of the Baggins’ home. This homely scene evokes the pages of a classic storybook as smoke rises from warm hearths and well tended gardens teem with life. This is a stunning pattern which tells the whimsical tale of the Hobbit home.
This design has been a labour of love: bringing together the lore from the world of Tolkien and Oscha’s unique aesthetic to create this stunning Shire pattern. There have been many hand-drawn iterations perfecting the layout of this intricate design before we were happy inking in every tiny detail for the final version.
Over the last few months we have taken Oscha on tour, attending many Sling Shows in order to meet our wonderful customers. We have loved getting out and about in Scotland and reveling in the joy of babywearing. Here’s some snippets to share with all you far flung wrappers and educators to give you a wee taste of our tour.
Aberdeen Sling Meet:
Early on a gloriously sunny morning Hannah and Kira found themselves travelling up the East Coast by train for a fun sling meet in Aberdeen organised by Jess Hippey of Close & Calm.
Not only was there lots of opportunity for trying wraps and carriers, getting advice and adjustments, there were homemade cakes and cookies provided too (Aberdeen photos courtesy of laughsandlenses.com)
We are proud to present The Middle-Earth Collection, the official collection of baby wraps and ring slings inspired by the world of J.R.R Tolkien.
This collection is the result of a long-held desire here at Oscha to create a collection inspired by the world set out in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Drawing inspiration from the rich tales in the works of Tolkien, and with exclusive rights from Middle-earth Enterprises, we have created a series of gorgeous designs steeped in a mythology that has enthralled generations of children and adults.
With designs reflecting every detail of this world, from the geography of Middle-earth to individual characters, this Collection spans the breadth of this immersive tale.
We feel that the carefully crafted creation of this world naturally complements Oscha’s unique, timeless aesthetic. A shared dedication to creating a considered piece of art, along with a devotion to the minutiae of this folklore has allowed us to bring Middle-earth to life in an authentic and tasteful way: creating truly wearable art for our fans.
We asked Diana Warner, one of our beautiful models, to let us know her thoughts about our new MacQueen of Skye Tartan. Woven using a brand new 100% Superwash wool weave we were keen to see what she thought about this new innovation in all wool wraps.
I’m not sure where to begin. First I guess I need to say that I am head over heels IN LOVE with this wrap …
It was instant. When this package arrived I was very excited to see the new colour way of Tartan in person. Before it was sent to me I was told the blend would be 100% wool so I was a little nervous that I would not have time to break it in properly. This wrap needs absolutely ZERO breaking in. I’m not joking. I received MacQueen of Skye and Menzies tartan (100% organic combed cotton) on the same day and MacQueen was SOFTER straight out of the bag. Don’t get me wrong Menzies softens nicely but this was a surprising find.
The break in period for MacQueen is about 6 seconds.
The colours are as such: the perfect cool red, deep midnight black, fresh crisp white. All of the colours contrast and compliment each other in such a way that this wrap is visually stunning, and welcoming.
Vicki delves into historic Scotland to find out more about the age old tradition of carrying children in slings! She meets our new designer Evonne’s granny and great aunt over a cuppa to hear about their personal experience in using the ‘Plaid’.
When our new designer Evonne told her granny about the products Oscha makes, her granny said, ‘Oh, I know all about that, your great granny carried me in the plaid.’
Intrigued, I drove westwards on Scotland’s hottest day of the year (temperature reached a miraculous 27C!), navigating the tangle of motorways which slice up Glasgow, and out the other side to Dalry, once a thriving textile town, where the last mill closed only a few months ago, to find out more.
Evonne’s granny, May (Mary), and her sister Fay, greeted me with tea in china cups, lots of cake and a fascinating glimpse into 1930’s and 40’s Scotland.
Their mother had nine children and they lived in a two-roomed tenement flat with no running water or electricity. ‘We had to carry buckets of clean water up a flight of stairs and the dirty water back down again,’